Author Topic: Jersey City hopes planned City Hall annex will benefit distressed neighborhood  (Read 8655 times)

Online MA

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Jersey City aims for inner city rebirth with City Hall annex plan
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on July 19, 2016 at 6:38 PM, updated July 19, 2016 at 8:13 PM

JERSEY CITY Edwin Davis moved to Orient Avenue from Manhattan about a year ago and felt some initial trepidation about the area.

Located near the Hub shopping center on Martin Luther King Drive, the neighborhood struggles with poverty, unemployment and crime. Residents nicknamed the local McDonald's "Smackdonald's" because of drug addicts they see congregating there in the early-morning hours.

But Davis, 57, who was steered to the area by a real-estate broker, said he's "happy to be here." He's even more excited now that the city plans to open a new municipal building in the Hub plaza.

"This gives me hope that this will be a really interesting area and I'm here at the beginning of it," he said.

Davis was one of about three dozen residents and public officials who attended this afternoon's groundbreaking ceremony for the $20 million new municipal building, a City Hall annex that will house about 300 workers when it opens in February 2018.

City officials said the annex will remake the troubled Martin Luther King Drive strip it will call home by attracting commercial and real-estate development. Ward F Councilwoman Diane Coleman said the annex will be the "cornerstone" of the economic revitalization of the area.

"I knew this avenue when Miles Shoe Store and Adorable Teens was here and I look at it now and it saddens my heart to see what has happened over the years," Coleman said.

Mayor Steve Fulop said the building will be "nothing short of transformational" for the city's Ward F, which includes a swath of the struggling inner city.

"This will be the largest single investment in Ward F's history," Fulop said. "It will lead to coffee shops and pizzerias and economic activity throughout this area, which benefits everybody. Today is a really significant day not only for Ward F but for all of Jersey City." Read more

Online MA

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Jersey City council approves $36M plan to build City Hall annex
« Reply #12 on: 03-13-2015, 03:52pm »


Jersey City council approves $36M plan to build City Hall annex
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on March 11, 2015 at 9:43 PM, updated March 12, 2015 at 1:40 PM

JERSEY CITY - The City Council tonight approved a $35 million plan to build a City Hall annex on Martin Luther King Drive, one the Fulop administration touts as the largest investment in the city's black community in decades.

The 7-2 vote came after a roughly two-hour public hearing that saw supporters express hope that the annex will rejuvenate the economy of the commercial strip near the Hub shopping center, and opponents slam the deal as a giveaway to the developer, Brandywine.

Council President Rolando Lavarro, who voted in favor, said the annex will be a "catalyst" for more redevelopment in an area that has been "distressed for decades."

"Hell yeah," Lavarro said when the time came to vote.

Lavarro was joined in support by Mayor Steve Fulop's other allies on the council: Joyce Watterman, Daniel Rivera, Frank Gajewski, Khemraj "Chico" Ramchal, Candice Osborne and Diane Coleman. The two regular Fulop critics, Rich Boggiano and Michael Yun, voted against. Read more

Online MA

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Jersey City looks to delay vote on controversial City Hall annex
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on December 15, 2014 at 8:03 AM, updated December 15, 2014 at 5:17 PM

City officials plan to ask the City Council to postpone a vote on the controversial City Hall annex lease that was scheduled to be finalized this week.

State officials were set to review the deal for possible approval today, but that has been tabled until at least January. The council can't vote on it until the state gives the plan its OK.

The annex would house city offices in a building outside the Hub shopping center on Martin Luther King Drive. Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, a frequent critic of Mayor Steve Fulop, has blasted the deal as a giveaway to developers.

The plan would have developers Brandywine build the complex and rent it to the city for 20 years, after which the city would own the building. Construction is expected to take two years and cost $24 million, while the city's lease payments would amount to $45 million over 20 years.

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Online MA

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Jersey City council to delay vote on City Hall annex lease
« Reply #10 on: 09-11-2014, 11:53am »
Jersey City council to delay vote on City Hall annex lease
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on September 08, 2014 at 3:22 PM, updated September 08, 2014 at 5:51 PM
 
A measure that would have approved Jersey City's plans to build a City Hall annex outside the Hub shopping center won't be voted on at this week's City Council meeting.

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said the city will ask the council to table the measure, which was set for adoption on Wednesday night. The measure would have approved a 25-year lease for the proposed annex, which the city would rent from developer Brandywine and then purchase for $1 after expiration of the lease.

Morrill said in an email that the city wanted to confer with state officials "to eliminate any possible concerns" council members have about the plan.

The news is sure to cheer opponents of the deal like Ward D Councilman Michael Yun. Yun, one of only two members of the council who aren't aligned with Mayor Steve Fulop, has said he objects to the city's plan to finance the $20 million annex.

The lease, which approved initial approval from the council on Aug. 21, would find Brandywine paying for construction of the 600,000-square-foot annex and the city leasing it at a cost of between $1.3 million and $2.3 million annually, for a total of at least $45 million in rental payments over the course of the lease.

Yun said he welcomes a new City Hall annex, but would rather the city pay for construction itself. That plan would result in tax hikes, Morrill has said.

Offline Miss Eliza Bennet

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I as well like the idea of more transportation for the HUB. Isn't that where dear Mr. F said he was going to purchase a house? He'd be just like former Mayor B. of New York, riding public transit to work!!!

Offline speaknj

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Michael Yun speak against the city hall annex.

Speak NJ is a public access cable program that airs in Jersey City and Bayonne.  Mondays, Jersey City 10:30 PM and Tuesdays 9:00 PM, Channel 51. In Bayonne, channel 19, Tuesdays @ 9:00 PM

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Jersey City Council member proposes alternative plan to City Hall annex
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on August 25, 2014 at 7:50 AM

Jersey City's plan to build a $20 million City Hall annex on Martin Luther King Drive will be the focus of a meeting tomorrow evening hosted by one of the plan's opponents.

Michael Yun, who represents the Jersey City Heights on the City Council, is inviting residents to a meeting at 346 Central Ave., beginning at 7 p.m., to discuss the city's plan, which involves leasing the space from a developer at a cost of $45 million over 25 years.

Yun wants the city itself to construct the three-story facility instead of farming out the job to a developer. Yun says his plan would save the city $30 million by using bonds and some of the city's surplus, but city officials say his plan would result in a tax increase.

Offline jkm@fop.net

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What a moronic idea.  The HUB is a dismal failure, adding to it is dumb.  Who would the investor be that would lease it to the City?  Why would anyone believe that this would make the area more vital?  Too many criminals in the area.  Who is currently paying rent?  Adding to failure only increases the failure.  Why, why, why/

Offline Bobblehead

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Hey, 3:00 p.m. is late, isn't it?
Sanctimonious bleater.

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Online MA

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"Let's not pretend that that's not an issue here," the source said. "We work late hours."

:rofl:

Online jehu

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This project is stuck in the financing stage.
TheFang: yeah, i gotta agree with jehu here

Darna: we had a lovely shat with mrs binky this morning

stephen: Hmm I'm as clueless as you are.

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shahaggy: can't believe I'm saying this but +1 jehu

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[01:35 PM] shahaggy: fine but jehu's correct

TheFang: as much as it pains me to say, jehu might be right.

One time, I hired a monkey to take notes for me in class. I would just sit back with my mind completely blank while the monkey scribbled on little pieces of paper. At the end of the week, the teacher said, "Class, I want you to write a pape

Offline Bobblehead

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I've got a radical idea. Create more transportation options for the neighborhood. Oh, and site a few more officers there on patrol, at the light rail stop in particular.

Putting a city annex at the Hub is a great idea, if done right. The city just needs to put its money where its mouth is.
Sanctimonious bleater.

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Offline Bobblehead

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Jersey City hopes planned City Hall annex will benefit distressed neighborhood
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
July 28, 2014 at 8:07 AM, updated July 28, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Jersey City is planning to build a $20 million City Hall annex on Martin Luther King Drive, one that city officials hope will bring benefits to one of the city's most economically distressed neighborhoods.

The annex, planned for the Hub shopping center, would bring about 250 city workers to the area, and it would include offices for the mayor and the police and fire chiefs. The plans were revealed during a meeting with Ward F community leaders on Wednesday.

The new building would be called the Martin Luther King Jr. City Hall Annex. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this fall.

The city believes the annex will bring new foot traffic to the area, benefiting local shops and creating a demand for more businesses, according to a seven-page presentation obtained by The Jersey Journal that was given to community leaders on Wednesday.

City offices that could move there include public safety, health, planning, commerce and buildings, according to the presentation.

"By moving several hundred jobs to the south of the city, including the permitting and development offices, we are committed to putting our money where our mouth is and taking steps to return Jackson Avenue to being a bustling business center," Mayor Steve Fulop said in a statement.

Jackson Avenue is the former name of MLK Drive.

Councilwoman at large Joyce Watterman, a Fulop ally who attended the meeting, calls the annex plan "a good idea."

"I think it'll bring businesses to the community," Watterman said. "They're been trying just to get retail in there, but this might be a better way to attract retail."
It's not clear how the city plans to pay for construction of the annex, which the presentation says will be "secured at no tax increase to taxpayer." Watterman said the plan is for a developer to build it and the city to lease the property.

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said details on the financing will be available when the plan is presented to the City Council next month. Morrill said the final cost could be as low as $14 million.

The Hub opened in 2000 in an effort to revitalize the area, but it's in a hole financially. The total rent that can be collected there is $915,000 annually, while expenses are $1.1 million, according to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, which owns the mall.

When the city announced that former Gov. Jim McGreevey's prisoner re-entry program would open at the Hub, some local leaders protested, saying the Hub was intended to be an economic engine, not a site for municipal offices.

A source who asked not to be identified said municipal employees found out about
the annex plans only after Ward F community leaders were informed. The source
said this has irked city workers who may have to work at the Hub, and the source worries that residents who don't live in Ward F will have trouble getting there.

"Was there anybody there (at the meeting) from any other wards? How are they supposed to get to these municipal services?" the source said. "You left them out of the conversation."

There's a light rail stop outside the Hub, but the source said it's "much more difficult" to use than the transportation options near City Hall in Downtown.
There's also a crime problem in the area around the Hub that employees will have to face, the source said.

"Let's not pretend that that's not an issue here," the source said. "We work late hours."

The city has planned an annex for years. Under the previous mayor, it was slated for a lot near the Jersey City Medical Center.
Sanctimonious bleater.

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